According to Nature, just over half of American LGBT researchers are “out in the lab” - 57 percent to be exact. This is based on a 2013 survey of 1,427 people working in STEM fields.
These results might be seen as encouraging when compared to the 47 percent of the average American workers who identify as being ‘out’, however, it's not what we would call a success story for academia.
A survey from the American Physical Society shows that life out of the closet in academia in America can still be terrible. About a third of LGB people are advised to stay in the closet if they want to advance in their career. The situation is even more dire for trans and gender-nonconforming people, with about half reporting having experienced harassment.
New research, published this week in Science Advances, showed that sexual minority students in STEM were 8 percent less likely to be retained in STEM compared to heterosexual peers.
Universities, industries, and companies are hemorrhaging talent because LGBT+ people in STEM are being ignored. But we can change that. We want LGBTSTEM Day to improve the visibility and representation of LGBT+ people in STEM, help them access and share resources, and build a stronger LGBT+ community.
It is time to make a bold statement of support, and we believe that this special event can help make a significant step towards achieving this goal.
The event is supported by Science Gallery, Ecsite, the CERN LGBTQ group, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Wellcome Trust, and others.
Pride in STEM is a UK-based charitable trust working to promote and support LGBT+ people working in STEM.
House of STEM is an Irish-based Network dedicated to connecting and supporting LGBTQ+ scientists in the Republic of Ireland.
InterEngineering is an organisation dedicated to connecting, informing and empowering LGBT+ engineers and supporters.
How to get involved
There’s no such thing as too small a gesture to promote and support LGBT+ people in STEM. You can start by following and contributing to the #LGBTSTEMday hashtag on social media, share stories, images and videos of yourself or your role models, and help boost the visibility of other LGBT+ people in science, tech, engineering, and maths.
If you or your organisation want to get involved, please download our LGBTSTEM Day Toolkit or get in touch via email (email@example.com) or on our social media (@PrideInSTEM, @houseofstem, @InterEngLGBT).
LGBT+ physical sciences network
The Royal Society of Chemistry has teamed up with the Institute of Physics and the Royal Astronomical Society to join the LGBT+ physical sciences network (formerly physicists and astronomers network). The network’s steering group comprises representatives from all three learned societies as well as SEPNET and Stonewall, and aims to connect the LGBT+ physical sciences community. You can sign up to the network here.
The network is currently running the first UK and Ireland survey of the working, teaching and studying climate for LGBT+ physicists, astronomers and chemists, and those in related sciences. Take part in the survey and share with friends and colleagues.